President Joseph Urgo and Dean of Students Roberto Ifill are expected to announce their choice for the new Public Safety Director sometime in the next week or so. Their search for a suitable candidate has taken close to a year and represents a marked departure from the administration’s past search efforts. Previously, candidates have been pulled from a fairly local sample, often including current members of the St. Mary’s staff. Several years of changing directors far more often than they would like, convinced the administration to change tactics.
Dean Ifill’s and President Urgo’s offices decided that they would find their new director from a nationwide search for qualified men and women. They, obviously, will be able to sustain the specific role that Public Safety plays in campus life. This role, as described by Dean Ifill, is one which provides safety for students but which also promotes proactive attitudes among campus residents and staff. The most important thing, according to Dean Ifill, was that the new director must understand that Public Safety is not a police unit. Specifically, Ifill said “we want Public Safety officers and, of course, their director to treat each student as if they were one of their children.” To be clear, the Dean’s point was not that Public Safety officers should condescend towards students but, rather, that they should care about students on a personal level instead of treating them just as victims, criminals, and bystanders.
At this point, Dean Ifill and President Urgo believe that they have found their new director. However, they are remaining close lipped while a third party finishes up a thorough background check. The campus expects an official announcement of the new Director of Public Safety in the next few weeks.